Working in Psychology

For Assessment 2, write a 1500 word essay

 demonstrating the application of two areas of psychology.

Psychology as the study of peoples thinking and behaviour has many useful applications to everyday life. This essay will focus on demonstrating the application of psychological theory to the practice of clinical and forensic psychology. Lindsay and Powell (1994) stated, clinical psychology is the study of mental disorders and problems of adjustment. I will explore how the cognitive approach has been used to develop therapeutic techniques for mental disorders for example, the use of cognitive behavioural therapy in schizophrenia. Furthermore, I will look at how classical conditioning can lead to the association of fear and anxiety with everyday objects and events and how the use of flooding therapy is used.

However forensic psychology applies psychological knowledge to the understanding prediction and nature of crime and behaviour related to crime. Gudjonsson and Howard (1998) suggest that, “forensic psychology refers to the branch of psychology which involves collection, examination and presentation of evidence for judicial purposes”. I shall concentrate on the overview of the area and two areas that exemplify the range and scope of both theory and practice in contemporary forensic psychology for example, how offender profiling is used and therapies used to treat offenders.

The work of clinical psychologists varies considerably depending on the client groups that they work with for example; in child and adolescent settings there is a greater emphasis on family intervention. Although in adult work this may include problems in dealing with long-term chronic illness such as schizophrenia. One of the major contributions of clinical psychologists is to offer a systematic approach to the assessment of psychological problems. Following assessment they will suggest a variety of methods of treatment.

The behavioural approach views behaviour as having developed as a result of learning processes. Behavioural treatments used in clinical psychology are based on classical conditioning for example, flooding which aims to extinguish patterns of learned behaviour. Behaviour modification in contrast aims to offer new patterns of rewards to establish new behaviour.  In flooding, the client is exposed to the feared stimulus in a highly disturbing form for a prolonged period of time. An example of the application of the use of flooding for phobias was that of an adolescent girl with a phobia of travelling in cars, who was then driven around for hours until her initial hysterical response subsided and her feared disappeared (Wolpe, 1973).

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However in cognitive behavioural therapy, the therapist helps the client learn to identify and correct erroneous beliefs and systematic distortions in information processing in the service of reducing distress and enhancing efforts to cope.  Although there are several different variations of the approach, they all share the same characteristics. Clients are encouraged to treat their beliefs as hypotheses to be tested and are guided to do so in ways that protect against the biases and the distortions that preserve the idiosyncratic misconceptions inherent in each disorder.

In schizophrenia, cognitive behavioural therapy aims to increase an individual's understanding of psychotic ...

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